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If They Come For Us

Fatimah Asghar

6 Reviews

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Poetry

'Fatimah Asghar's debut collection brought me to tears many times over. It is urgent, compelling and filled with fragments of history that have changed the face of the world. Its exploration of queerness, grief, Muslim identity, partition and being a woman of colour in a white supremacist world make this the most essential collection of poems you'll read this year' Nikesh Shukla, editor of THE GOOD IMMIGRANT, author of THE ONE WHO WROTE DESTINY


Poet and co-creator of the Emmy-nominated web series BROWN GIRLS captures her experience as a Pakistani Muslim woman in contemporary America, while exploring identity, violence, and healing.

an aunt teaches me how to tell
an edible flower
from a poisonous one.
just in case, I hear her say, just in case.

Orphaned as a child, Fatimah Asghar grapples with coming of age and navigating questions of sexuality and race without the guidance of a mother or father. These poems at once bear anguish, joy, vulnerability, and compassion, while also exploring the many facets of violence: how it persists within us, how it is inherited across generations, and how it manifests itself in our relationships. In experimental forms and language both lyrical and raw, Asghar seamlessly braids together marginalized people's histories with her own understanding of identity, place, and belonging.

'A debut poetry collection showcasing both a fierce and tender new voice' Booklist

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Praise for If They Come For Us

  • In forms both traditional...and unorthodox...Asghar interrogates divisions along lines of nationality, age, and gender, illuminating the forces by which identity is fixed or flexible. Most vivid and revelatory are pieces such as 'Boy,' whose perspicacious turns and irreverent idiom conjure the rich, jagged textures of a childhood shadowed by loss. - New Yorker

  • Fatimah Asghar's debut collection brought me to tears many times over. It is urgent, compelling and filled with fragments of history that have changed the face of the world. Its exploration of queerness, grief, Muslim identity, partition and being a woman of colour in a white supremacist world make this the most essential collection of poems you'll read this year - Nikesh Shukla

  • What an outstanding collection of poetry . . . [I] will be thinking about these poems for a long time to come - Goodreads

  • A stunning work of art that tackles place, race, sexuality and violence. These poems - both personal and historical, both celebratory and aggrieved - are unquestionably powerful in a way that would doubtless make both Gwendolyn Brooks and Harriet Monroe proud. - Chicago Review of Books

  • In this awe-inspiring debut, Asghar, writer of the Emmy-nominated web series "Brown Girls," explores the painful, sometimes psychologically debilitating journey of establishing her identity as a queer brown woman within the confines of white America . . . Honest, personal, and intimate without being insular or myopic, Asghar's collection reveals a sense of strength and hope found in identity and cultural history. - Publishers Weekly *starred review*

  • If They Come For Us is a beautiful book of poems that, as powerfully and deeply as any book I've read in a good while, wonders about, explores and laments our many inheritances of violence, which are also inheritances of sorrow, and the ways those inheritances reside in our bodies and imaginations. The ways those inheritances, in fact, structure our bodies and imaginations. And yet, the wonder of this book is the way that throughout the anguish and sorrow and rage, despite it, there is tenderness.

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Fatimah Asghar

Fatimah Asghar is the creator of the Emmy-nominated web series Brown Girls. She is a recipient of a 2017 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship. In 2017 she was listed on Forbes 30 Under 30 list.

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